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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New chip to ease CatCard access

    The CatCard Office is taking the next step with technology by introducing a new contactless smart chip on the cards, which allows hands-free access to buildings, officials said.

    The smart chip will be introduced in a pilot program when the Medical Research and the Thomas W. Keating BioResearch buildings open this fall, but it could be available to faculty and students within the next five years, said Diane Tatterfield, assistant director of CatCard services.

    “”This is really exciting technology,”” she said.

    Some locations on campus, such as the Bursar’s Office, already use the contactless chip cards, and other departments are interested in using the same technology, Tatterfield said.

    “”They want to be able to wave their card because it is convenient,”” she said.

    The chip allows users to either wave their CatCard in front of a reader, wave the card and enter a pin into the reader, or, in higher security situations, wave the card and touch the reader to give a fingerprint.

    An impressive feature to the chip is that it self-destructs if someone tries to hack it, Tatterfield said.

    The card will provide extra security for the Keating building and the Medical Research building, which will use shared research areas, Tatterfield said.

    As a safety feature, the new cards can deny access to a building for researchers who need the cards for only a temporary period of time, and the cards can also be programmed to decline access on a certain day or time, Tatterfield said.

    This is good news to Jon Sams, executive assistant for the Keating building’s Bio5 Institute, who said the new technology will be both convenient and secure.

    “”The technology is much less vulnerable to compromise,”” he said.

    Vicki Chandler, director of the Bio5 Institute, said the card will be handy because people will be able to go where they need to, and the card can also record who was in a certain area at a certain time.

    “”(The card will) provide accountability for employees that will encourage a higher level of attention to detail and a better use of equipment,”” she said.

    In addition to added security, the new card will solve a problem for people who have to swipe their card up to 30 times a day, which induces unnecessary wear and tear, Tatterfield said.

    Tatterfield said she doesn’t know if the cards can sustain a trip through the washing machine, but she will find out.

    “”I’m going to take it home, put it in the washing machine, and bring it back Monday,”” she said.

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